7 Reasons To Love Where You Are—Right At This Very Moment
Two things that I made a concerted effort to do last year were make peace with a lot of areas of my life and to study more of what it means to be a minimalist (you can read a great article that breaks down what it means to be a minimalist here). In order to reach both of those goals, I had to let go of a lot of things—not just tangible ones either. I had to release some people, some perspectives and certain expectations as it directly related to those people and perspectives. I won't lie—doing some of that kicked my butt; altered me in some ways too. But if someone were to walk up to me right now and ask what pursuing peace and becoming more of a minimalist ultimately resulted in, I'd have to say that they both taught me to live in the moment.
How? It's fascinating, really. When you're not out here trying to buy a ton of stuff, maintain a billion relationships or define success based on other people's standards instead of your own, it's amazing how you're not so anxious or stressed about the future. It's not that you don't care about it (that's irresponsible); but it's like you take on the words that Christ himself once said—and instructed: "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble." (Matthew 6:34—NKJV) You realize that all you really should concern yourself with is doing your best, right here and right now. Everything else is either karma (the result of past "in the moment" choices that you made) or something that is totally out of your control. And acknowledging this reality? It creates a kind of woosah that releases a lot of overthinking, burdens and stress. And that makes life so much easier, across the board.
If you get where I'm coming from in theory, but you are still trying to master how to actually get into the present more often, I've got some reasons, via personal experience, that can (hopefully) get you to stop worrying so much about the past or obsessing over the future. Because really—why do that when the present is where it's at? Literally.
REASON #1: No Matter What, Now Is a Teachable Moment
A poet by the name of X.J. Kennedy once said, "The purpose of time is to prevent everything from happening all at once." Another way to look at that quote is, "The purpose of time is to keep you from becoming totally overwhelmed"—or more overwhelmed than you already are. Whether this very moment is showing you how to be more patient, how to focus solely on the matters at hand, how to stop worrying so much or how to stop pushing yourself so hard—if you get really quiet, breathe deeply and embrace living in the present, every single moment that you're in can teach you something; especially about yourself.
The more you learn, the more you grow. The more you grow, the more prepared you are for what the next moment has in store.
That's one of the best things about time—it instructs us how to pace ourselves, to not rush and to accept how every moment flows in our lives. It took me a long time—too long—to learn that if time thought I was ready for more than what is right in front of me, I would have it. Embracing this fact has totally altered how I choose to live my life for the better. (More on this in a bit.)
REASON #2: You’ve Got All That You Need to Handle the Present
A signature quote that I have posted as a signature in one of my email accounts is this—"You have everything you need, right now, at this very moment, to accomplish what YHVH wants you to do—right now, at this very moment." YHWH is "Yahweh" which is a Hebrew title for God. When you're a freelancer like I am, life can sometimes be mad unpredictable. There have been times when, without any warning at all, I have gone from being able to handle all of my bills to finding out that "my services are no longer needed" and immediately having to figure out what's next. Back when I tried to run ahead of time, it would totally freak me out. But as I worked more and more on only controlling what I could control while also realizing that even if my mind wanted me to imagine myself on the street and starving, neither of those things were happening in the moment, my anxiety subsided.
I still had my crib, the lights were still on, and food was in the fridge. The news that I got in the present was just alerting me to make a different kind of plan for my future. But in the now, I was fine. And, God willing, with the right plan in place, I would remain fine next week and the weeks to follow. Every time that way of thinking proved to be right. Did I always have what I wanted in the present? Nope. But what I needed was always provided—"For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him." (Matthew 6:8—NKJV) Most times, that is exactly the case.
REASON #3: Living in the Moment Keeps Us Calm, Stable and Centered
Calm, stable and centered. Unfortunately, I don't think a lot of people realize just how powerful it is to live in this kind of energy space. When you're calm, you're free from disturbance. When you're stable, you're firm, steady and, as one of my favorite dictionary definitions puts it, "not wavering or changeable, as in character or purpose". When you're centered, you're able to do something that many human beings have yet to comprehend, let alone master—you can find balance between emotion and logic.
A couple of years ago, when I had one of the most devastating heartbreaks of my life, for a second time (long story, chile), as I was grieving it all out, I realized that a big part of what had me so shook was the fact that the life I thought I was going to have didn't appear to be panning out that way. You know what that means, right? It wasn't just that I loved someone who didn't love me the same way; it was that my feelings caused me to make all sorts of future plans rather than simply love in the moment. Looking back, I honestly was probably more disappointed in how I thought my future life was going to be more than anything else.
Fast forward to now and I love differently. I have standards and expectations, no doubt (we all should). But my emotions (what I want to happen) are not running so far ahead that logic (what is actually transpiring) is going by the wayside. And that? That has me in a state of tranquility that I've never really had before. And trust me, when you are approaching life and love from a calm, stable and centered head and heart space, nothing can touch you like it can when you're…not.
REASON #4: Living in the Moment also Encourages Gratitude
There's a Scripture in the Bible that says, "So are the ways of everyone who is greedy for gain; It takes away the life of its owners." (Proverbs 1:19—NKJV) I know that a lot of people think of the word "greedy" from the perspective of folks wanting monetary gain but, personally, I believe that you can be greedy when it comes to how you process time too. Being greedy is about being eager. You're preoccupied with being married? Greedy. You're obsessed over your biological clock? Greedy. You can't seem to finish anything you start because you don't like waiting for its manifestation? That is also being greedy because, again, being greedy is about being eager and, when you're eager, you don't really know how to enjoy the moment you're in. As a direct result, you're focused more on getting than being grateful for what you already have.
If you hate being single so much, ask some of your married friends what they miss about living the single life. If all you can think about is becoming a mommy, check out articles on our site like "I Am A 27-Year-Old Struggling Mom & I Regret Having My Child" and "For The Women Racing To Have Children Before It's 'Too Late'", just so you can get a bit of a reality check. If your eagerness has you procrastinating or quitting projects, use this time to create shorter term goals on a weekly basis that you can complete so that you can actually get things done.
The more you remove eagerness from your life, the more space you'll have for gratitude to come in. Gratitude is about recognizing what you already have and giving thanks for it.
You know, a novelist by the name of Cynthia Ozick once said, "We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude." It's pretty easy to take what you already have for granted…until you lose it. Maintaining a spirit of gratitude keeps this kind of reality check, ever in the forefront of our minds. That way, we're not so obsessed with wanting what we don't have that we're not thankful for what we do.
REASON #5: This Moment Will NEVER Come Again. Cherish It.
I get it. The moment that you might be in right now could very possibly suck in every imaginable way possible. But here's the thing about that—if you reflect on your past, there have been other times when you probably felt the same way (or very similar). But now that those moments have come and gone, if you're really honest with yourself, they probably strengthened you, matured you, or prepared you for something in the way that nothing else quite possibly could. Same goes for where you are in this moment.
My greatest disappointments in people taught me how to not treat others. My biggest financial blows taught me to respect my money and resources more. My greatest heartbreaks showed me how to love myself better. Bottom line, whether the moment you are in is good or not so good, if you choose to let it evolve you into an even greater person, it is something to cherish. In spite of whatever is happening right now, this moment will never come quite this way ever again. Take it in. Grow from it. One day, you'll look back and be glad that you did.
6. This “Dot” Is Connecting You to a Much Bigger Picture
Definitely one of my favorite quotes on the planet is the one by a pastor by the name of John Piper—"God is always doing 10,000 things in your life, and you may be aware of three of them." Yeah, I think that one of the hardest things for us to do is accept that whatever is happening (or not happening) today, this week or even this year is simply a "dot" or a part of the puzzle piece to a much greater picture. You may not to be able to fully comprehend why something is happening (or not happening) in this moment but it's important to remain humble enough to remember that you are not the only one who plays a role in your life story. Other people need to come in and out. Things need to transpire behind the scenes.
Timing needs to cause some things to come together and fall apart in order for the ultimate masterpiece to reveal itself.
So, no matter how you may be feeling about right now, try and keep your emotions in check. This moment is connected to something in your past and will also connect to something else in your future. If you're open to seeing things from this perspective, it will all make sense. One day.
REASON #7: Things Tend to Come to Us Once We’re Ready for Them
I kind of already touched on this, but I want to go a little deeper because, if you're someone who really struggles with living in the moment, I think grasping this final point can help you to do it better. Whenever I'm talking to a single woman who desires to be married and she goes on and on about how "ready" she is, I tend to say something along the lines of, "So, you're 'completely prepared or in fit condition for immediate action or use'? How do you know that?" If there's one thing that, shoot, I'd say 95 percent of married folks will admit about marriage it's that, although some went in believing they were ready, they realized they had absolutely no clue what they were getting themselves into.
Personally, I think it's pretty arrogant to assume that you are "completely prepared" for marriage and so the hold up must be your future spouse. And boy, to go into that kind of relationship without humility and self-awareness is only setting you up to have your ego knocked down a peg or two—or 20. When I wrote articles like "If Your Man Is Missing These Things, Wait Before Marrying Him" and "Ask These Sex-Related Questions BEFORE You Marry Him", by no means was I implying that we shouldn't look within to see where we stand on these points too. For instance, one thing that I desire in my husband is financial stability and responsibility but guess who is just now really getting her past taxes together? Now what I look like demanding my partner be what I am not? That is the epitome of hypocrisy.
One of the best things about living in the moment is it gives you the opportunity to get ready for what is to come. Time is wise and loving enough to slow things down and gift us with the present so we can do so.
So, even if you do struggle with embracing the present, I hope all of these reasons have offered some insight into just how important it is to love where you are. The moment is here because you need it. When you don't, it will pass. Once time deems that you are ready for it to.
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After being a regular contributor for about four years and being (eh hem) MIA in 2022, Shellie is back penning for the platform (did you miss her? LOL).
In some ways, nothing has changed and in others, everything has. For now, she'll just say that she's working on the 20th anniversary edition of her first book, she's in school to take life coaching to another level and she's putting together a platform that supports and encourages Black men because she loves them from head to toe.
Other than that, she still works with couples, she's still a doula, she's still not on social media and her email contact (email@example.com) still hasn't changed (neither has her request to contact her ONLY for personal reasons; pitch to the platform if you have story ideas).
Life is a funny thing but if you stay calm, moments can come full circle and this is one of them. No doubt about it.
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7 Sex-Related Problems That Ruin Sex (And Possibly Your Relationship)
Not too long ago, while in an interview, someone asked me to define one of the main purposes of sex in a long-term relationship: “Probably the most intimate form of communication that we have is sex because it’s an act that connects one’s physical, mental and emotional state to another human being simultaneously — and communication doesn’t get much more profound than that.”
That’s part of the reason why the term “casual sex” irks me to the billionth degree (check out “We Should Really Rethink The Term 'Casual Sex'”); it’s because, even if you think that sex with someone is next-to-nothing, there is so much going on within you (oxytocin highs, if you’re unprotected, fluid bonding, chemical reactions in your brain, etc.) that doesn’t know if someone is “the one” (in your mind) or not. So, in many ways, it acts like they are (check out this YouTube video from a Catholic woman who studies some unexpected ways that sex affects us physically here; sex goes deep, y’all!).
Yeah, sex is so much more than a notion, and that’s why I’m a firm believer that it is such a barometer for long-term relationships overall — because, as I’ve shared before, I once read that, “Good sex in a relationship is 10 percent of the relationship while bad sex in a relationship is 90 percent of the relationship because sex tends to set the tone for what’s happening in the rest of the house.”
And that’s why I think that there are certain sex-related issues that can not only damage your sex life with your partner but could also end up ruining your relationship if you’re not careful (very careful). Let’s get into seven of them now.
1. Being Unaware of Your “Body Clock”Giphy
I can’t tell you how many clients I’ve had who’ve come to me in some serious trouble, in part due to their flailing (or partly nonexistent) sex life. When I ask them if they went to premarital counseling (if you’re engaged, please do; you have a 33 percent greater chance of avoiding divorce when counseling transpires), many say “no” and the ones who say “yes” usually say that it was no more than 3-5 sessions and the topic of sex barely came up (le sigh). Meanwhile, with my premarital meetings, I try and stick with intimacy for three months if I can because there is a lot to unpack, from what you learned as a child, to your first time (or if you are a virgin), to your needs and fantasies, to how you see it from a spiritual perspective — like I said, there is a lot to unpack there.
Take the mere practicality of sex, for example — and more specifically, your body clock. Do you prefer to have sex at night or in the daytime? A lot of couples struggle with intimacy because one prefers the former while the other likes the latter. Do you keep track of when you’re ovulating? It’s pure science why you are probably hornier during that time of the month (because your body is signaling that it’s time to conceive) vs. the fact that you might not be the most interested in sex when you’re PMS’ing. Are you premenopausal? Hormones shift a lot during that time, and here’s the thing — while menopause only lasts a year, the premenopausal stage (which typically starts between 45-55) can last between 7-14 years. Even paying attention to when you have more energy (some do in the day…morning sex, anyone? While others do early in the evening) can play a role.
So yeah, getting to know your body clock (and discussing your partner’s clock with them) can play a role in how much — or how little — sex you have…and that can add life or drain it from the relationship overall.
2. Comparing Your Present with Your PastGiphy
There is a wife of almost 20 years I know who, when I asked her if she thought that her husband was good in bed, she paused for a second, shrugged her shoulders, and simply said, “I was a virgin when I got married, so I have nothing to compare him to. I mean, he’s good to me.” On the flip side, there’s a now divorced couple who I also know (who almost made it to 20 years) who had multiple partners before each other while also having a deep interest in porn who once said to me, “Sometimes, there’s as much as 15 people in our bed because of all of the people from our past and the porn that we’ve seen that’s running through our heads.” Yeah, y’all can act like body counts don’t matter, but there is so much evidence out here that says otherwise — that couple just gave one that doesn’t get talked about as much as it should.
You know, one of my favorite throwback shows is King of Queens (Kevin James, Leah Remini). A few weeks ago, I watched a rerun where Doug and Carrie were talking about the images that come up in their minds, sometimes during sex. Neither was too happy about it, and I can totally see why. I mean, if sex was just about “getting off” (and it’s not), then whatever. However, AGAIN, it’s also about connecting with your partner on a mental and emotional level, and that’s hard to do if you’re there with them in the body while you’re fantasizing about a celebrity, a porn actor (porn is usually acting, don’t let it fool you) or an ex (check out “You Love Him. You Prefer Sex With Your Ex. What Should You Do?”).
And what if that is what’s going on? I once spoke with a sex therapist about this very thing. What she said is people should be less concerned about celebs (if it’s on occasion) and more concerned about that ex because rarely is sex with an ex…just about the sex.
And that’s why this point made the list. If you’re physically with your partner and mentally or emotionally with your ex at the same time, please don’t ignore that. There are definitely some unresolved issues there that you need to work through, whether it’s with a therapist, counselor, or coach, a trusted friend (who won’t add fuel to the literal fire), or even with your ex — although you might want to run that by your partner first because…I’m pretty sure you’d want him to do that with/for you. RIGHT?
3. Not Being Clear About Your Sexual NeedsGiphy
Question — if someone were to walk up to you right now and ask you what your top seven sexual needs are, along with what your top five sexual dealbreakers are, would you be able to answer? It really is kind of wild how many people get upset with their partner for not being able to sexually satisfy them when even they can’t articulate what they need/require in order for that to happen. Yeah, it’s another article for another time about how many people UNREALISTICALLY (and yes, I am yelling it) think that someone loving them well means that they should be able to read their mind. Nope.
It truly can’t be said enough that sex — especially good sex — is about communication. Hmph. It makes me think about a clip that I saw from Tonight’s Conversation podcast (can’t find it at the moment; sorry) where a woman asked how she should tell her partner that he hasn’t been pleasing her, I believe she said for years. My first thought was if he doesn’t know that, she must be faking orgasms (more on that in a bit) which is not only lying — well, it is —, but it’s also pretty counterproductive because while he thinks that he’s “getting the job done,” she’s not fulfilled and resentment is setting in.
Please don’t let rom-coms (fiction) and social media (which is oftentimes fictitious) have you out here thinking that a good lover is someone you automatically gel with who knows exactly what to do; sometimes that is the case, and oftentimes it isn’t.
So, if the sex-related issue that you’re having in your relationship is that your sexual needs aren’t being met, first do you (and your partner) a favor by doing some sex journaling (check out “The Art Of Sex Journaling (And Why You Should Do It)”) so that you can tangibly see what those needs are and then plan time within the next week or so to pour a couple of glasses of wine, put on some 90s R&B and discuss with your partner what you need. Because actually, what a good lover is, is someone who listens and retains. This brings me to the next point.
4. Minimizing Your Partner’s Sexual NeedsGiphy
A husband once told that when he and his wife were in premarital counseling, something that he mentioned was a bona fide need was fellatio. According to him, his wife told both him and their counselor that she loved giving head. Fast forward to eight years of being in their union, and guess how many times that act went down? A measly four. FOUR TIMES (check out “Sooo...What If You HATE Oral?”).
It’s another message for another time, the amount of people who will “false advertise” during the dating stage in order to get to their goal of marriage. It’s also another message for another time how much that is a form of manipulation that tends to backfire in ways that the manipulator is oftentimes not prepared for.
For now, what I will say, is never think that just because something may not be a need for you that it isn’t a legitimate one for someone else. I mean, how would you feel if that’s how someone treated you? Yeah…exactly.
Yet that is just what happens in a lot of relationships, including when it comes to their bedroom. They will think that their needs should be met, hands down, yet when their partner comes with what’s important to them, all of a sudden, there is dismissiveness, nonchalance, and/or excuses — and how could that not rear its ugly head on so many levels?
Your partner’s sexual needs are essential, even if they are not your own. Never assume that you automatically know everything about them. Also, never assume that what worked two years ago is what will “scratch the itch” now. Hmph. Come to think of it, while you’re sipping on that wine and clearly articulating to him what turns you on, use that as an opportunity to ask him to return the favor. Listen with humility, receptiveness, and intent — the best kind of relationships process their partner’s needs with this kind of vibe…across the board.
5. Taking the “If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It” ApproachGiphy
Lazy lovers. When you hear that phrase, what’s the first thing that comes to your mind? If it’s someone who is just lying there during sex, that would certainly qualify; however, I’m actually speaking of a different kind of laziness here. Believe it or not, some synonyms for lazy include words like apathetic, inattentive, tired, passive (cough, cough), procrastinating, neglectful, and slacking. So yeah, if you and/or your partner can use any of these words to define what sex is consistently like between the two of you — red flag, red flag…RED FREAKIN’ FLAG.
Speaking of being passive, another potentially serious sex-related problem is taking on the attitude that if something ain’t broke, you shouldn’t fix it. What I mean by that is, just because you know that getting on top and riding for exactly six-and-a-half minutes is what will get your partner off, that doesn’t mean that it should be your automatic go-to all of the damn time.
Why? Because. While a part of the fun of having sex is “reaching the peak,” another component that should never be underestimated is discovering new territory: trying new positions, creating a sex bucket list, taking (more) sexcations, playing sex-themed board games (put that phrase in Amazon or on Etsy’s site and go ham!)…you know, doing what will inspire creativity and deter either of you from becoming bored.
That said, a husband of 17 years once told me, “A man can be satisfied with the same woman. We just don’t want the same kind of sex with her.” Words to live by. Yes, indeed.
6. Using Sex as a Deflection or Coping MechanismGiphy
A few years ago, I wrote an article for the platform entitled, “Make-Up Sex Might Be Doing Your Relationship More Harm Than Good” — and with good cause. Words cannot express how many divorced (or soon-to-be divorced) women have told me that a part of what kept them in their marriage, for as long as they stayed in it, was the fact that the sex with their husband was beyond amazing…even though so much other stuff completely and totally sucked. Hey, good sex isn’t a bad thing (c’mon now); however, if it’s the only real thing that’s keeping you with someone, it can turn out to be a toxic deflector.
The reason why I say that is the purpose of sex isn’t to make love; it’s to celebrate it. And if all you’re doing with your partner is f — king and fighting or avoiding issues by stripping down or thinking that sex will “make it all better,” all the while not really knowing what the problem/issue is or what needs to be done to get down to the root of it, that is using sex as a pacifier and again, that’s not what sex is designed to be. Sex doesn’t deserve the pressure of being the end-all to “fixing” ish.
So, if what’s transpiring in your relationship lately is very little talking and a whole lot of sexing, and then once the sex is over, something still feels “off,” that’s a good indication that you’re misusing sex on some level. Get out of the bed, put on a robe, and do some talking (preferably in a room other than the bedroom; leave that space for sex and sleep only as much as possible). Because remember — as much as the wives that I mentioned said that their husbands once had them climbing the walls, those men are still ex-husbands now. Bottom line, sex is good, yet when it comes to keeping a relationship together, it will never be enough. Again, it was never designed to be.
7. Faking ItGiphy
I will never be a fan of faking orgasms. Maybe it’s because I’m a Gemini (we may be a lot of things, but “fake” isn’t really our style). Maybe it’s because I’m a very word-literal individual, and I know that fake means things like “prepare or make (something specious, deceptive, or fraudulent)” and “to conceal the defects of or make appear more attractive, interesting, valuable, etc., usually in order to deceive.” Or perhaps it’s because I don’t get how acting like you’re sexually fulfilled when you actually aren’t is doing anyone any good. Whatever it is, whenever a client (or someone in general because men fakealmost as much as women do) tells me that it’s something they do, I immediately find myself on a mission to shut that mess down (check out “Why You Should Stop Faking Orgasms ASAP”). ALL THE WAY DOWN.
The main reason is that, regardless of if the motive is to hurry things along, not hurt your partner’s feelings, or it’s something more cryptic than that (cough, cough, some form of manipulation tactic), there’s no way around the fact that fakeness is tied to deception and deception is a word that should never be connected to a healthy sexual dynamic.
Besides, one could argue that faking is a form of deflection as well because…wouldn’t it be better to just get it all out in the open WHY you are doing it than to keep pretending when life is too short and great sex is too good to not get the absolute most out of it, as much as possible?
Besides, again, chances are that if you’re faking that you’re sexually pleased, you’re probably faking something else in your relationship (or situation), and how could that possibly be good, right, or beneficial?
Yeah, when it comes to being satisfied across the board, please don’t fake it. State your case in the way that you’d like to hear something said to you, and let the chips fall where they may. If you’ve got a good man, he’s gonna — no pun — rise to the occasion. If his ego can’t handle it, well…that’s something that you should find out sooner than later — when it comes to the bedroom and outside of it? Right? #shoyouright
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Featured image by Giphy